One of the concepts we originally had when setting up our farmhouse style brewery in Saxapahaw was the idea of working alongside local farmers on an annual basis to grow certain ingredients for our core beers. It just makes natural sense—Alamance County is home to plenty of successful small farms that responsibly raise livestock, grow all sorts of delicious food, or forage for unique ingredients that grow wild here in North Carolina...
1. You have to stand out amongst your peers. The craft beer world is one of the most collaborative, most supportive, most amicable business environments out there—it really is an amazing world in which to live and work. But the fact is, breweries are opening every day across the country, and when it comes down to it, we’re all still in business to keep the lights on, right? To become appealing to the wonderful world of beer bars and craft-centric restaurants out there, you must have a clear, distinct brand (your logo, website, look & feel, and general story behind what you’re doing), so your prospective customers know what they’re buying into, and what they’re representing to their own customers. Ask yourself what makes your brewery, your beer and your brand different from five of your favorite local breweries, and then think about how best you can showcase what makes your brewery different enough from theirs to stick in the minds of your customers in an appealing way (and without seeming boastful or degrading to anyone else, of course). And please, please, leave the inside jokes, the sexist symbolism and the overt shock value out of your message. You're a craft brewer now—it should be fun, but you also gotta act like you belong in the big leagues..
A couple of weeks ago, Dawnya & I drove to the office of ABC in Raleigh to submit all our final paperwork and cross our fingers for the permits we'd need to legally brew beer in the state of North Carolina. Luckily, we had all our ducks in a row (definitely Dawnya's doing), because we left the office that afternoon with smiles on our faces and all the paperwork we needed to get going. Our first few batches are now bubbling away as I type this, and we couldn't be more excited about getting going with the brewery. To make sure we clearly communicate what you can expect from Haw River Farmhouse Ales over the next month or two, we've put together a little summary of our expected scheduling, plans for initial distribution, our planned event calendar, an idea for which beers are coming out of the gate first, and a few other pieces of info you may find helpful..
Those of you who follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may have noticed over the past few weeks that we've been posting images of the Haw River team working closely with friends at other NC breweries on a bit of a rather mysterious project. What do you do when you have an army of friends in the beer industry, but are patiently awaiting the day you can open your own doors? Why, you make beer with them!.
You may have recently noticed that we’ve launched a campaign to raise funds for adding some unique equipment to the brewery on Kickstarter. The short and skinny of it is—we’d love to make our brewery a more sustainable venture and we'd like you to play a key role in making that happen. Kickstarter.com is our chosen platform, and they’ve been great to work with. But they have rules & guidelines in place that don't exactly allow us to include a few things the way we intended, which might warrant a bit more explanation. Thought it made sense to add a little more detail on our own website. :)
As many of our friends and followers know, we've recently collected, isolated and banked our very own native yeast strain from right here in Saxapahaw, and we've been letting it stretch its legs in a few internal test batches we've brewed, as well as a commercial beer called Little Miss NC that we recently collaborated on with Trophy Brewing Company.
So far, we've been thrilled with how our little Saxapahaw yeast strain has performed. It's played wonderfully in test batches of a Belgian Blonde, a Saison and a Belgian-style Tripel that we've brewed here. If we give it the right malt bill, it flocculates beautifully, leaving a crystal clear beer after about 20-30 days (although it finishes out a ~1.060 wort in about half that time). Again, assuming we want it to, it can attenuate at room temperature quite easily, leaving a clean, crisp, dry beer.
We know it's been a long time in the works, but after several months of having a smarter, more scientifically trained friend of ours help clean up and isolate viable strains from within the miasma of critters we collected here in Saxapahaw last February (of which we posted a follow-up a few months later), we're finally ready to update everyone on some of the (so far, at least) rewarding results of our wild yeast collection project.
A few weeks ago, Haw River Farmhouse Ales was lucky enough to have been invited to pour our beer alongside some of the most promising upstart breweries in the state, helping to raise funds to benefit the Triangle's oldest no-kill animal shelter, Second Chance Pet Adoptions. The awesome folks at Steel String Craft Brewery, Deep River Brewing Company, Four Saints Brewing Company and newcomers to the scene, Raleigh Brewing Company and Crank Arm Brewery, were all in attendance at Rockfish Seafood Grill in Durham for a night of great beer and great people.